Skip to main content

Image / Leon Benon on the stand

Have a question about this item?

Item Information. View source record on contributor's website.

Title
Leon Benon on the stand
Alternative Title
Los Angeles Herald Examiner Photo Collection
Date Created and/or Issued
1945
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Collection
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
Images available for reproduction and use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at http://tessa.lapl.org/OrderingUse.html for additional information.
Description
Photograph was edited for publication purposes.
Leon, 17, and Lois Benon, 16, marked their first wedding anniversary on July 26, 1945 by having dinner at home with another couple, thirty-one year-old Harold Young and his wife Zelpha. During the course of the get-together Harold, whose real name was William Douglas "Dee" Owens, finally persuaded Lois to run off to Texas with him. Owens was the father of a five year-old, but having a family had done nothing to cool his ardor for Lois. He had been pursuing the newlywed for months and had finally succeeded in winning her over with promises of a convertible coupe and "all the clothes she wanted." Lois waited until everyone had finished their dinner and then told Leon that she was running away with Dee. She went into the bedroom and began to pack her bag. Leon seemed to have taken the dissolution of his marriage in stride. He told Lois that if she wanted to leave it was okay with him, "if that's the way you want it." But losing Lois wasn't okay with Leon no matter what he'd said. He went to a bureau drawer and got out his disassembled .22 automatic rifle and began putting it together. Suddenly he had Lois's full attention. "What are you going to do?" Leon loaded the weapon and told her he was going to go into the backyard and practice shooting. Dee saw what was happening and tried to get the gun away from Leon, but he wouldn't give it up. Just as Lois and Dee were about to leave, Leon announced, "Well, Dee, you asked for it" and started firing. He didn't stop until his rival hit the floor. The police were called and Leon admitted to them that he had known about Lois and Dee for two months, and it was then that he had made up his mind to kill Dee. Leon, still a juvenile, was to be tried as an adult. His future looked grim. His defense was that he had been defending the sanctity of his home. The jury of 11 women and 1 man deliberated for little more than 24 hours before acquitting the teenager. On August 9, 1946, Leon was granted an annulment.
Photograph caption dated November 9, 1945 reads, "Tells of slaying of 'love rival.'"
Type
Image
Format
1 photographic print :b&w ;26 x 21 cm.
Photographic prints
Identifier
00128240
Herald Examiner Collection
HE box 10962
CARL0005419407
http://173.196.26.125/cdm/ref/collection/photos/id/34103
Subject
Trials (Murder)--California--Los Angeles
Murderers--California--Los Angeles
Young men--California--Los Angeles
Courtrooms--California--Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express photographs
Herald-Examiner Collection photographs

Explore related content on Calisphere: